Gielissen strives for a safe workplace every day

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This article is appearing today in the Day of BHV magazine and is written by Linda van Hout in Dutch. The English translation is automatically generated and may contain errors. BHV translates to "Company Emergency Response" in English. It involves safety and first-aid measures within workplaces.

Angela has been a BHV coordinator at Gielissen for five years for the Eindhoven location, in addition to her role as a work planner. For Peter, this role is relatively new: he has been a BHV coordinator for two years for the Helmond branch, in addition to his role as a production worker creating beautiful things with his team. LEAN/KAM Manager Fenne Jaminon leads the central safety meetings.

Dangers on the horizon

When the alarm goes off at Gielissen, everyone immediately follows safety instructions seriously. You could say that BHV is a priority here. Why? "It's crucial because accidents can happen in the blink of an eye," says Peter. "In the production hall, we're always using saws and milling machines, and our machines are running at full capacity. Here, we often encounter cutting and slicing incidents on fingers. In the field, our colleagues work with scaffolding, aerial platforms, and climbing equipment. We always ask them to wear a safety harness. When unloading goods from trucks, they place everything neatly to ensure cyclists' safety." Angela confirms, "In Eindhoven, too, we often deal with minor incidents, like fingertip cuts, which fortunately are usually minor."


Connecting and learning from each other

To keep the BHV organization sharp and the workplace safe, the 23 BHV responders in Eindhoven meet monthly. Angela says, "Each time, someone organizes this meeting. Sometimes we practice bandaging, walk around the building, or discuss dangerous substances. This keeps the topic current." In Helmond, there are 15 BHV responders who meet every three months. Peter adds, "During these meetings, we discuss all accidents and look at how we can prevent them in the future. To facilitate cross-learning, we also have regular central safety meetings that Angela and I attend. This keeps us sharp and brings more structure to our overall BHV organization. Additionally, we organize toolbox meetings for all employees, focusing on safe work practices. You can see the effect, as employees also hold each other accountable for unsafe behavior."


Safety App

To properly register and prevent accidents, Gielissen introduced a safety app. Fenne says, "We replaced the accident form with an app where employees can report dangerous situations or accidents. We've noticed a significant increase in reports compared to before. This year, we've already received nearly 60 reports of hazardous situations, approaching our KPI of 72 per year. That's significant growth, as in 2021, there were only 22. We discuss these near-miss incidents during safety meetings to prevent accidents. To encourage app usage even more, we introduced the 'Safe Moment.' This emphasizes what's going well. The person who reports something is nominated for a Safety Award, which we present quarterly at both locations."


Day of BHV

On the Day of BHV, Gielissen always organizes something special. Peter says, "We gather on that day. We practice what's necessary at that moment. We once took a photo in front of the building in our BHV gear for visibility. We also placed posters and stickers on windows and doors to show that we're focused on safety." Angela adds, "We use posters and stickers as well. Last year, we walked around the building wearing safety vests. For this year's theme, we're still brainstorming. We want to include an activity, perhaps a first aid kit competition. We involve all BHV responders in planning this day, as their engagement is crucial."


Never completely satisfied

From what it sounds, Gielissen's BHV organization is running smoothly. However, Peter believes it can be better. "You should never be completely satisfied. The basics are in good shape, but there's always room for improvement. We had an evacuation drill last year, and there were areas where we identified improvements for the next time." Angela concurs, saying, "I think things are running very smoothly here, and that makes me happy and enthusiastic. We even have a waiting list for new BHV responders. But you should never settle for satisfaction. I believe in constant renewal, and that's why I'll be stepping down as a BHV coordinator soon. Two other enthusiastic individuals can take over with a fresh perspective."


Golden advice

Angela has some advice for other organizations. "Listen to your BHV responders carefully. They are among their colleagues on the shop floor and understand best what's happening in their department. What they want to learn is the most important because they are the ones who have to implement it." Peter adds, "Appreciate your BHV responders. It's a good feeling to have people ready if something happens. Employees also appreciate this sense of security. Ensure that BHV is not neglected but is taken seriously.""


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